Fish yu2 鱼 is the most popular dish served during Chinese New Year.
In Chinese fish has the same sound as “surplus” and “abundance” 余.
A whole fish is served on Chinese New Year’s eve for the reunion dinner.
Usually the fish is steamed.
It is a good omen to leave the bones and head and tail intact.
This symbolizes surplus and a good beginning and end in the new year.
A child holding an oversized fish and lotus flower is a favorite picture during Chinese New Year.
This Chinese fish image means lian2 nian2 you3 yu2, “surplus year after year”.
This is beacuse one word for "lotus" lian2 has the same sounds as "continuous" lian2what's better than an image of a fish?
A picture of gold fish!
Gold fish jin1 yu2 sounds the same as "an abundance of gold".
So the gold Chinese fish is a popular image on red packets and Chinese New Year greeting cards.
For example, a gold fish wrapped in lotus leaf.
This means "an abundance of gold in your wallet" as lotus "he2" 荷 means harmony and "bao" 包 means "wallet".